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Published Apr. 18, 2022

If you don’t want to wait for water to freeze in an ice tray, or if the small ice maker in the fridge doesn’t produce enough ice to keep up with the demands of your household, then it may be time to invest in a dedicated ice maker for your home. The best ice makers can produce many pounds of ice every day, ensuring you always have ice ready when you need it. We’ve picked the best countertop, freestanding, and undercounter ice makers to help you decide what’s the best ice maker for your kitchen. 

How We Picked the Best Ice Makers

We relied on our experience with ice makers, refrigerators, and other common household appliances to select the top ice makers from over 25 different options. While experience was important for understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each product, extensive research into the various ice makers formed the basis for the final selection of the best ice makers.

The first factor to consider during this process was the size of the ice maker. These products range from small countertop models that don’t take up a lot of space to full-size, freestanding ice makers that may be more common in a restaurant or hotel. Undercounter ice makers were also important to consider because they are an attractive addition to a home bar, especially installed alongside a wine fridge or built-in beer taps.  

The type of ice was another factor that came up as a frequent difference between top products. With this in mind, ice makers that were capable of making more than one type of ice were preferred over ice makers with a limited ice variety. We also took Ice production and storage into consideration. The amount of ice produced per day and the storage space tended to increase with the size. 

Best Ice Makers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Maker

Why It Made the Cut: Use the digital control panel to set the ice making time or even adjust the thickness of the ice cubes.

Specs:

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Dimensions: 17.6 inches L x 15.7 inches W x 31.4 inches H
  • Ice: Standard ice cubes
  • Ice Production: 100 pounds per day

Pros:

  • 45 cubes in just one cycle
  • 29-pound storage bin
  • Digital control panel
  • Automatic cleaning function

Cons:

  • Takes up floor space

Customize the size of the ice cubes with the Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Maker that comes equipped with a digital control panel for users to control the ice making time and adjust the size of the cubes for the ideal ice output. This appliance is capable of making up to 100 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, and it has a huge, 29-pound storage bin that can hold about a third of the maximum daily ice produced. 

The sheer amount of ice that this machine can create should indicate that it’s an appliance well-suited to use in a hotel, B&B, or even a restaurant, though it may also be a good choice for families that host a lot of parties or get-togethers. This freestanding ice maker creates 45 cubes in about 15 minutes and it even has an automatic cleaning function, so users can be certain the ice they are using is clean and safe for consumption. 

Best Value: NewAir Portable Ice Maker

NewAir

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Why It Made the Cut: Available in red, white, or silver, this countertop ice maker is an excellent addition to any kitchen.

Specs:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Dimensions: 14.25 inches L x 16.88 inches W x 16.75 inches H
  • Ice: Nugget ice cubes
  • Ice Production: 50 pounds per day

Pros:

  • Inexpensive option
  • Portable use with any standard electrical outlet
  • Self-cleaning function
  • Three sizes of nugget ice cubes

Cons:

  • Does not connect to the water line
  • Manufacturer does not provide storage compartment measurements

Affordable and easy to use, the NewAir Portable Ice Maker is capable of creating up to 50 pounds of ice in a day. It has quick, 6-minute ice making cycles and can be programmed to start making ice at any time the user needs within an 18-hour period. The portable countertop ice maker doesn’t connect to the water line, so users will need to make sure the water tank is filled before attempting to make ice. It does have an insulated interior designed to keep the ice cold, even outside under the hot sun, and includes an ice scoop and a removable storage bin.

However, it should be noted that the manufacturer doesn’t list the size of the storage bin, so the actual capacity of this appliance is difficult to state with accuracy. Users can take advantage of the self-cleaning function to ensure that the ice is clean and safe to consume. You can also choose between three sizes of nugget ice, depending on whether the ice is to snack on or make drinks. Just plug it into an available outlet, fill the water reservoir, and let the ice maker go to work.

Best Freestanding: hOmeLabs Freestanding Commercial Ice Maker Machine

HOmeLabs

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Why It Made the Cut: The rust-resistant, stainless steel exterior of this freestanding ice maker looks great alongside other stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.

Specs:

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Dimensions: 15.7 inches L x 17.6 inches W x 31.4 inches H
  • Ice: Standard ice cubes
  • Ice Production: 100 pounds per day

Pros:

  • 0.3-gallon water tank connects directly to the water line
  • LCD display with intuitive control panel
  • Sleek, rust-resistant exterior
  • Adjustable ice cube size

Cons:

  • Takes up floor space

Make sure your home always has fresh, safe-to-consume ice cubes with the impressive hOmeLabs Freestanding Ice Maker. It’s capable of creating up to 100 pounds of ice every day, and it has a large, 29-pound storage compartment to keep the ice safe and clean until it’s needed. While this freestanding ice maker does take up about 4 square feet of floor space, it has a sleek, stainless steel exterior that pairs well with a stainless steel fridge or dishwasher to give the kitchen a clean, modern appearance. 

The ice maker contains a 0.3-gallon water tank, but users don’t need to worry about filling the tank manually. Just connect the ice maker to the water line to ensure that the machine has unlimited access to fresh water to make ice 24/7. The size of the ice cubes can also be adjusted through the intuitive, LCD control panel located on the front of the ice maker. 

Best Undercounter: Scotsman CU50PA-1A Undercounter Ice Maker

Scotsman

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Why It Made the Cut: Create gourmet ice cubes that are crystal clear, odorless, and slow to melt to bring a touch of luxury to the home bar.

Specs:

  • Type: Undercounter
  • Dimensions: 34.38 inches L x 14.88 inches W x 22 inches H
  • Ice: Gourmet ice cubes
  • Ice Production: 65 pounds per day

Pros:

  • Built-in design 
  • Connects directly to the water line
  • Approved for outdoor use
  • Produces uniquely shaped, crystal clear, slow melting, odorless ice cubes

Cons:

  • High price

If your home bar only lacks an ice machine to complete the set-up, then the Scotsman Undercounter Ice Maker is a great choice. The machine is capable of creating up to 65 pounds of ice every day. It has a 26-pound storage compartment to keep the ice cold and clean, and it connects directly to the water line so users don’t need to worry about how long the water has been sitting in the reservoir. 

Keep in mind before choosing this undercounter ice maker, that this type of machine  tends to have a higher price than freestanding or countertop models. The Scotsman Undercounter Ice Maker is no exception to this high price, though the gourmet ice cubes produced by the ice maker may make the cost worthwhile. Not only are these ice cubes uniquely shaped to help improve the aesthetic of any drink, but they are also crystal clear, slow melting, and odorless. This ice maker is even rated for use with outdoor kitchens, making it an excellent option for barbecues. 

Best Countertop: GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker

Why It Made the Cut: Fill the detachable water tank from any clean fresh water source to make ice anywhere with an available power outlet.

Specs:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Dimensions: 15.5 inches L x 14.25 inches W x 17.25 inches H
  • Ice: Nugget ice cubes
  • Ice Production: 24 pounds per day

Pros:

  • Detachable water tank
  • Portable use with any standard electrical outlet
  • Automatically makes ice when ice levels are low
  • Sits on the counter instead of taking up floor space

Cons:

  • Does not connect to the water line
  • Must fill the water reservoir to produce ice

While countertop ice makers are typically set up in the kitchen to produce ice for the household, they’re also portable, so users can pack these compact appliances and make fresh ice wherever there is an available outlet and fresh water. This means that portable, countertop ice makers, like this GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker, can actually be used with a generator to make clean ice at a campsite or in an RV. 

This machine can also be set up in the kitchen to make up to 24 pounds of ice per day. The ice maker has a 3-pound storage container to keep the nugget ice cold and clean, though it’s important to note that this appliance cannot connect to the water line. So it’s the responsibility of the user to make sure the water reservoir is filled regularly. GE also offers a Bluetooth-enabled model of this ice maker, allowing users to set an ice making schedule and monitor the ice maker’s status through their mobile devices. 

Things to Consider Before Buying an Ice Maker

Most people don’t know enough about ice makers to make an informed choice about which product would be right for their home. It’s important to take the time to educate yourself about size, ice variety, ice production, and storage in order to select the best ice maker for your kitchen or home bar. 

Size and Type

There are several common ice maker sizes that separate these appliances into three different categories, including countertop ice makers, undercounter ice makers, and freestanding ice makers.

  • Countertop ice makers are the most common option for at-home use because they don’t take up a lot of space, making these appliances ideal for smaller homes. Additionally, countertop ice makers don’t make or store as much ice as an undercounter or freestanding model, so if you regularly use ice, but don’t have a large family or home, then a countertop ice maker is the way to go. These ice makers are also more affordable than undercounter and freestanding ice makers.
  • Undercounter ice makers are designed to be installed underneath your counter, similar to a built-in wine fridge. They tend to cost more than both countertop and freestanding ice makers because they typically connect directly to your water line and may have special features that are suitable for a home bar, like variable ice types.
  • Freestanding ice makers stand on the floor and can often be used to make up to 100 pounds of ice in a single day. They will usually have a large storage capacity, ensuring that you always have ice available when you need it, but freestanding ice makers can take up a lot of floor space. So, if you don’t have the room or you simply won’t need 100 pounds of ice at any point in time, then it may be better to invest in a countertop ice maker.

Ice Variety

This may come as a surprise to some people, but there are actually a variety of ice cube shapes and sizes. When you look into ice makers, the ice type is typically provided by the manufacturer and can include bullet, nugget, crescent, or the standard cube style of ice. 

  • Bullet ice is shaped like a bullet with one rounded end and a lot of surface area to help your drinks cool quickly. This type of ice is frequently used in whiskey, scotch, and other alcoholic beverages.
  • Nugget ice is small and easy to eat as a quick refreshing snack. It’s also great for crushing and making various cold drinks or ice cones. 
  • Crescent ice cubes have a similar design to bullet ice, utilizing a large surface area to cool quickly. Both bullet ice and crescent ice are usually cloudy or completely white, so they may not be appetizing to munch on.  
  • Standard cubes are best for individuals who tend to leave their drinks sitting for long periods of time because these large pieces of ice melt slowly and gradually, ensuring your drink will stay cool while you’re busy or distracted. 

Ice Production

One of the most important factors to consider before selecting an ice maker is how much ice you will usually need on a regular basis. Countertop ice makers will typically have a storage compartment capable of holding 3 to 5 pounds, but they can make up to 50 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, which is more than enough for many households.

Undercounter ice makers typically have the highest price, but they don’t produce the most ice. The price difference is because they are made to fit inside or underneath your counter, saving floor space. They also connect directly to the water line, ensuring that the appliance always uses fresh water to make the ice. Undercounter ice makers usually produce about 50 to 75 pounds of ice per day.

The largest producer of ice is also the largest size of ice maker. Freestanding ice makers also connect directly to the water line, and they are common in restaurants and hotels because they are often capable of making  up to 100 pounds of ice each day. They also have huge storage compartments where more than 20 pounds of ice can be kept safe for use.

FAQs

Q: Can mold grow in ice machines?

Mold can be a problem in ice machines because it tends to grow in the drop zone, where it remains mostly out of sight. Pink slime made of bacteria can also build up inside an ice machine. To prevent mold, you should regularly clean and disinfect the ice machine with a commercial cleaner or a simple DIY solution consisting of an equal mixture of water and vinegar.

Q: How much does an ice maker cost?

Ice makers can range in price, with some countertop models costing as little as $200, while a freestanding ice maker can cost over $1,000. Undercounter ice makers are the most expensive option. They will usually have a price ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.

Q: How long does an ice maker last?

The life of an ice maker depends heavily on the size and frequency of use. Countertop ice makers will often last about 5 to 10 years if they are regularly cleaned and maintained. Freestanding and undercounter ice makers usually have a longer life, ranging from 10 to 15 years, as long as the appliance is routinely maintained and cleaned.

Final Thoughts

If you regularly host large get-togethers or have a big family that uses a lot of ice to make and cool drinks then the Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Maker is the right choice. If you’re just looking for a small countertop model, the NewAir Portable Ice Maker is an excellent option that’s also more affordable than many larger ice makers.

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